Not all packaging designs are hits with consumers—especially redesigns. After all, no matter how talented the packaging manufacturer or how elegant the design, if you don't create something that resonates with your audience, you could alienate them.
At PI, our packaging design process includes asking certain questions about the audience and the product. Only when you honestly examine your existing packaging and branding can you determine what kind of redesign is best—or if you really need one at all.
How Do People Identify Your Brand?
Before you jump into a redesign project with your packaging manufacturer, you should identify just what it is about your brand that people recognize. How do they know who you are? What qualities in your branding and packaging do they appreciate? How do they differentiate you from the competition on a store shelf?
There is perhaps no better example of this than the Tropicana packaging design change from 2009. Tropicana didn't even change their entire design—just the image printed on it—and were met with a consumer uproar. By eliminating the iconic straw-in-an-orange image from the carton, they drew such serious ire from their audience that within two months of the redesign's launch, they publicly announced its discontinuation. Today, almost five years later, the company is still going strong with the classic image consumers clamored for.
This example shows that the things you think might need to be changed are different from the things your audience thinks need to be changed. A packaging design that you consider dated may be closely tied to your audience's concept of your identity, and changing the wrong thing can shake up that concept in a displeasing way.
What Does a Packaging Design Change Accomplish, and How?
Changing your packaging design can be both a practical and an aesthetic move. On the practical side, it can reduce material waste, or make the plastic package easier to open. On the aesthetic side, it can modernize your brand. So how do you implement these changes?
Two of the best things that you can do are to take things slowly and to be honest with consumers. For example, if you've redesigned a plastic package so that it uses less material and takes up less space on the shelf, you should announce on the package that the quantity of the product hasn't changed—in fact, advertising an eco-friendly package can resonate with consumers.
If you're trying to update your image, take it one step at a time, so that the change isn't too drastic for your audience. For example, Pepsi updated its logo in 2008, and updated its bottle shape just this year. By introducing these redesigns separately, they gradually changed their image rather than shocking consumers with too much, too fast.
Of course, there's plenty more to consider when planning out your packaging design or redesign—a lot more than we can adequately cover here. Working with a packaging manufacturer with a keen sense of design, however, can help ensure that you avoid any other missteps during the process.